Average Distance Covered By A Footballer In A Game How to Build a Soccer Conditioning Base

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How to Build a Soccer Conditioning Base

Soccer is a game where conditioning is crucial when it comes to maximizing performance.

At the start of the pre-season, most coaches these days focus on building an aerobic base that prepares players for the season.

Building an aerobic base

The term “aerobic base” has been used frequently in the last 10-20 years, and the reason for building this base is because a player runs 8-12 km during a 90-minute soccer match.

So far, so good. But when it comes to the distance traveled during a football game, shouldn’t we really be focusing on how we got there, rather than just the distance itself?

Is actual distance the most important aspect?

Of course, a professional soccer player can run 11-12 km during a game, but this distance is not completed by running long distances at the same speed throughout the game, on the contrary.

What separates a world-class player from an average player is not necessarily the distance covered, but the number of high-intensity runs and sprints performed.

Running long distances will make your players slower and weaker

If you still think that distance running is the way to go for football conditioning, then this should change your mind.

Long-distance running stimulates your slow-twitch muscle fibers, meaning your body adapts to the slow pace of running long-distance, and over time your fast-twitch muscle fibers “sink” making you slower and weaker.

Soccer is a vigorous sport where sprinting, maximum strength and jumping ability are of utmost importance. Running long distances will do the opposite for your players, weakening and slowing them down.

Need an aerobic base?

Not the traditional way by running long distances. My philosophy on soccer conditioning is that it should all be done on the soccer field, and most conditioning should be sport-specific, meaning most of it should be done with the ball.

However, at the beginning of the pre-season. I build an aerobic base through running.

Tempo running is when players run about 75-80% of their running speed during this distance. The distances I use to run are 100 meters (the length of a football field) and 200 meters (back and forth).

The rule of thumb for distance and time is:

– 100 meters: 18-22 seconds

– 200 meters: 38-44 seconds

So, if they run 100m, they should run at a speed that takes them 18-22 seconds to run 100m.

I use jogging for 3-4 weeks, 2-3 sessions per week, increasing the distance by 200-300 meters per exercise. I coach an 18 boys team, so if you are coaching younger players, be a little careful with the volume.

The first session could be 8 x 100 meters, then 10 x 100 meters, and after that I would alternate 100 meters with 200 meters per session.

I often let players rest for 2 minutes halfway through and then let them run the rest of the distance.

Pace running helps you build that aerobic base needed for soccer and it ensures your players still stay strong and explosive.

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